Friday Reads: Deplorables Do the DistrictPosted: January 29, 2021
Good Day Sky Dancers!
We just can’t seem to get rid of them! It’s like there’s a plague of locusts in every nook, crack, and cranny of our government incessantly making a horrid buzzing sound and devouring everything in sight! I’ve read stories today about these persistent right wing pests in just about every level and branch. Trump’s Deplorables are hunkering down for a long fight.
Chief Judge Beryl Howell –chief Judge of the Federal Court in the District–has to deal with the capitol riot suspects. CNN has the story on one of them who is going to be in jail for some time.
The chief judge of the federal court in Washington scorched Capitol riot suspects during a hearing on Thursday, calling their actions an assault on American democracy and ruling that a man who had bragged about putting his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office should stay in jail as he awaits trial.
“This was not a peaceful protest. Hundreds of people came to Washington, DC, to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power,” Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court said in the hourlong hearing for Capitol riot defendant Richard Barnett on Thursday.
Howell’s remarks are some of the first from a federal district judge over the more than 150 criminal cases that resulted from the siege. Her decision on Barnett also marks the first ruling in an appeal from the Justice Department after a magistrate judge out of Washington denied its request to keep a Capitol riot suspect in jail. At least four others are awaiting rulings from district judges in Washington after appeals.
Howell made clear she believes the crowd was trying to thwart the federal legislative branch from carrying out its duties.
“We’re still living here in Washington, DC, with the consequences of the violence that this defendant is alleged to have participated in,” she said.
“Just outside this courthouse … are visible reminders of the January 6 riot and assault on the Capitol,” the judge said, noting that she can see National Guard troops from the window in her chambers in the courthouse.
Barnett is charged with entering the restricted grounds of the Capitol, violent entry and disorderly conduct, and for theft of public property, after he allegedly took a letter from Pelosi’s office.
“The titles of those offenses don’t even properly capture the scope of what Mr. Barnett is accused of doing here,” Howell said at the hearing.
The judge noted that Barnett had bragged to a reporter that he had written “a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk and scratched my balls” in Pelosi’s office. Barnett’s lawyer says he hadn’t seen the report of that quote from his client in The Washington Post.
As BB wrote yesterday, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is a problem for every one with some of the most extremist, racist views as well as the entire Q Anon list of conspiracy theories as her guiding lights. Axios had this to say today: “Scoop: GOP ignored its early fears about Marjorie Taylor Greene”.
During previously unreported meetings last summer, House Republican leaders discussed — but then largely set aside — fears that QAnon-supporting conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene would end up a flaming trainwreck for their party.
Why it matters: Greene has emerged not just as an embarrassment but a challenge for the GOP, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy now forced to weigh whether to maintain his policy of sanctioning members who make dangerous statements.
In a series of conversations described to Axios by sources with direct knowledge of their contents, former Rep. Mark Walker was especially vocal about the “crazy” Greene. Reps. Liz Cheney and Steve Scalise also spoke up. But McCarthy and others ultimately did little to stop her.
- A spokesperson for Greene did not respond to a call or email from Axios.
Behind the scenes: John Cowan, Greene’s opponent in August’s primary runoff for Georgia’s 14th District seat, recalls separate conversations he had with McCarthy and Scalise, the House GOP whip, in which both men acknowledged Greene was a serious problem for the party.
- Cowan detailed a phone conversation he had with McCarthy in July, during which he warned him about wild opposition research they had against Greene.
- “I said, ‘She’s bad for the party,'” Cowan told Axios during a 30-minute interview Thursday. “I said she has real problems and does not represent, at least what I think of as, someone who would be allowed even in a big-tented party. I mean, at some point, you have to say, ‘No shoes, no shirt, no service.'”
- While both McCarthy and Scalise condemned Greene, and Scalise endorsed and raised money for and donated to Cowan, it wasn’t enough to overcome the vocal support for Greene from Trump’s then-chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The backing of Meadows, his wife, Debbie, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was so strong that Cowan never had a real shot against Greene, he said.
- “The House Freedom Caucus put their fingers on the scale in a big way,” said Cowan, a neurosurgeon. “By default it was sort of, ‘She must be Trump’s person.’ If those guys are going to bat for her, she must be Trump’s endorsed person.”
Greene also came up repeatedly during McCarthy’s leadership meetings last summer, a source with direct knowledge told Axios.
- Scalise, Cheney and Walker gathered for the weekly meeting in the conference room of McCarthy’s office in the Capitol and plotted how they should deal with her.
- Walker, now running for North Carolina’s open Senate seat in 2022, strenuously argued they needed to do more to stop this “crazy” woman who threatened to bring down the party, according to a source with direct knowledge.
- Cheney (R-Wyo.) also spoke up aggressively in these meetings about the danger of having Greene in the party.
- Scalise (R-La.) and McCarthy (R-Calif.) ended up putting out statements condemning her, yet McCarthy didn’t do much beyond that once it was clear she was going to win the race by a healthy margin.
The bottom line: “Everybody was well aware of her previous persona and who she is. I would say they all knew she was going to be a problem,” Cowan told Axios.
- “Maybe they just assumed that the awe of winning an election would calm her down a little bit, and so she would actually be interested in governing and be interested in policy, and she’s just clearly not. She is literally there for a stage production.”
Greene’s a subject of Jonathan Chait’s latest and the list of her belief system just gets more over the top with every finding. You may have seen this little doozy down thread in yesterday’s post by BB. ” GOP Congresswoman Blamed Wildfires on Secret Jewish Space Laser”.
The top example of a conservative mischief-maker, presented in perfect symmetry, is Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Greene’s views are just a bit more controversial. They include, but are by no means limited to, the following:
The QAnon conspiracy theory, which holds that Donald Trump is secretly fighting a worldwide child-sex-slavery ring that was supposed to culminate in the mass arrest of his political opposition, is “worth listening to.”
• Muslims don’t belong in government.
• 9/11 was an inside job.
• “Zionist supremacists” are secretly masterminding Muslim immigration to Europe in a scheme to outbreed white people.
• Leading Democratic officials should be executed.
The most recent Greene view to be unearthed comes via Eric Hananoki. Just over two years ago, Greene suggested in a Facebook post that wildfires in California were not natural. Forests don’t just catch fire, you know. Rather, the blazes had been started by PG&E, in conjunction with the Rothschilds, using a space laser, in order to clear room for a high-speed rail project.
Naill Stanage writes this in The Hill: ” The Memo: Center-right Republicans fear party headed for disaster”.
The centrists’ worry is that the party is branding itself as the party of insurrectionists and conspiracy theorists. This spells catastrophe for the GOP’s ability to appeal beyond a hardcore base, they say.
Ten House Republicans voted to impeach President Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 ransacking of the Capitol, but the chances of him being convicted in the Senate seem close to zero.
The GOP activist base still loves Trump, and a related ecosystem of bellicose conservative media has lambasted those who have broken from him.
Now the GOP is spending the critical early days of President Biden’s administration squabbling over what to do about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
Greene, a backer of the QAnon conspiracy theory, has also backed social media posts calling for the execution of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Video has emerged of Greene taunting David Hogg, the young gun control activist who survived the 2018 high school massacre in Parkland, Fla.
Greene has, so far, not been stripped of her committee assignments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), even though this fate befell then-Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in 2019 when he suggested that white supremacism was not offensive.
Tensions within the party are at boiling point.
The biggest problem is that our democracy is built on the assumption of two functioning parties in charge of the process and system. Today’s Washington Post notes: “Hostility between congressional Republicans and Democrats reaches new lows amid growing fears of violence”.
Open hostility broke out among Republicans and Democrats in Congress on Thursday amid growing fears of physical violence and looming domestic terrorism threats from supporters of former president Donald Trump, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leveling an extraordinary allegation that dangers lurk among the membership itself.
“The enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about, in addition to what is happening outside,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a Thursday morning news conference.
But even as she and others sounded the alarm, Republicans continued to deepen their ties to the former president, who has been impeached on a charge of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Hours after Pelosi’s remarks, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with Trump in Florida. In a statement, the pair vowed to work together to take back the House. On Thursday afternoon, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump acolyte, traveled to the district of Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), a member of the House GOP leadership, to hold a rally criticizing her vote to impeach Trump earlier this month.
The events reflected the extent to which the country’s legislative branch, which has for years been mired in partisan bickering, has reached new levels of animosity just as newly inaugurated President Biden is seeking to win passage of a massive bill designed to help lift the country out of the pandemic.
Some Democrats are expressing fears that Republican lawmakers — who in some cases have tried bringing weapons onto the House floor — cannot be trusted. Some have bought bulletproof vests and are seeking other protections.
And Democratic leaders are putting maximum pressure on the Republican leadership to denounce freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who once endorsed violence against members of Congress. One Democrat advanced a resolution to expel her from Congress.
The threat from right wing militia groups looms over the entire country.
The video’s title was posed as a question, but it left little doubt about where the men who filmed it stood. They called it “The Coming Civil War?” and in its opening seconds, Jim Arroyo, who leads an Arizona chapter of Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, declared that the conflict had already begun.
To back up his claim, Mr. Arroyo cited Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, one of the most far-right members of Congress. Mr. Gosar had paid a visit to the local Oath Keepers chapter a few years earlier, Mr. Arroyo recounted, and when asked if the United States was headed for a civil war, the congressman’s “response to the group was just flat out: ‘We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.’”
Less than two months after the video was posted, members of the Oath Keepers were among those with links to extremist groups from around the country who took part in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, prompting new scrutiny of the links between members of Congress and an array of organizations and movements that espouse far-right beliefs.
Nearly 150 House Republicans supported President Donald J. Trump’s baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him. But Mr. Gosar and a handful of other Republican members of the House had deeper ties to extremist groups who pushed violent ideas and conspiracy theories and whose members were prominent among those who stormed the halls of Congress in an effort to stop certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.
This is from Nance’s op Ed.
This week, the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning that domestic violent extremists might be “emboldened” by the Capitol assault “to target elected officials and government facilities.” DHS is right to be worried. As an expert in counterinsurgency, I believe we need to take seriously the possibility that Trump’s most zealous supporters are now creating the conditions for long-term conflict — extending, at its worst, to persistent terrorist or paramilitary violence.
The 2014 U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual defines insurgency as “organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region.” The insurgent’s goal is to make existing governments seem powerless, feckless and incapable of protecting the common citizen — and then exploiting that vacuum to seize political power. The self-styled militia members, conspiracy theorists and Trump zealots who stormed the Capitol demonstrated their aspiration to thwart the workings of American democracy. How far are they willing to go?
Achieving Trump’s disruptive goals on a national scale might be simpler than we want to admit. An NBC poll reveals Trump commands the loyalty of 87 percent of Republicans — even after the Jan. 6 assault. And his followers have successfully employed a cultural tool so powerful many deny it even exists: White privilege.
During the assault on the Capitol, the deference encountered by some violent insurrectionists — in stark contrast to the massive preemptive deployments of force experienced by Black Lives Matter activists in similar situations — could only have served to confirm their assumption that they were protected by their Whiteness. Despite dire intelligence warnings that seizing the Capitol was the goal of the protest, the sergeants-at-arms for both the Senate and the House viewed it as bad “optics” to have National Guard troops present. The massive surge of insurrectionists, shielded by their inherent White privilege, were able to overpower the police, murder a policeman and freely hunt for elected representatives, including Vice President Mike Pence.
So long as these insurrectionists believe they are thus shielded, any act of defiance is within the realm of possibility. Subversion, sabotage, and attacks using snipers or explosives could be utilized to plague urban areas, damaging water- and power-supply systems or computer networks. Even spectacular deadly terrorist attacks, akin to Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 truck bombing in Oklahoma City, are not out of the question.
Trump’s fledgling insurgents are embracing the narrative that they are a modern-day, hyper-patriotic version of the “Sons of Liberty” or the defenders at Lexington or Concord. For them, this faith in their own purity is a force multiplier, but it is also a major vulnerability. We must attack this belief head-on.
Here’s something from a cultist that got out of it. You’ll also note she was Bernie supporter prior to switching to Trump if you read the article.
And, then there’s this from The Guardian that reminds us who is most happy from the chaos the Trumpist regime has brought us: “‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy”. BB has covered this before but this is from today with some updates in a book.
Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda that there were celebrations in Moscow, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian.
Yuri Shvets, posted to Washington by the Soviet Union in the 1980s, compares the former US president to “the Cambridge five”, the British spy ring that passed secrets to Moscow during the second world war and early cold war.
Now 67, Shvets is a key source for American Kompromat, a new book by journalist Craig Unger, whose previous works include House of Trump, House of Putin. The book also explores the former president’s relationship with the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
“This is an example where people were recruited when they were just students and then they rose to important positions; something like that was happening with Trump,” Shvets said by phone on Monday from his home in Virginia.
Shvets, a KGB major, had a cover job as a correspondent in Washington for the Russian news agency Tass during the 1980s. He moved to the US permanently in 1993 and gained American citizenship. He works as a corporate security investigator and was a partner of Alexander Litvinenko, who was assassinated in London in 2006.
It appears we cannot possibly relax completely even though the Biden administration is going through the Pentagon and other places trying to oust Trump plants. The WSJ today reported that the Russian hacks went deeper than just Solar Winds too. Plagues and Pandemics are not easy things to get rid of.
So, it’s been nice to see more signs of normalcy in the TV news but we’re hardly done.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?